04/28/14 — Operation Link sends packages to troops

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Operation Link sends packages to troops

By John Joyce
Published in News on April 28, 2014 1:46 PM

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Ryan Carpenter, 18, Jasmine Mcintyre, 17, and Dangelo Pridgen, 17, fill storage bags with supplies and candy with members of Operation Link and the Mayor's Youth Council at City Hall Wednesday. The bags will go to deployed troops. All three are members of Operation Link.

A group of Americorps volunteers is working with Wayne County youth to send smiles to troops deployed overseas.

Operation Link mentors, together with students from the Mayor's Youth Council, put together care packages at City Hall last week to be sent next month to Seymour Johnson Air Force Base personnel currently serving overseas.

"We're hoping to have them ready to send off by the first or second week in May," Lou Rose said.

Ms. Rose is the program director for Operation Link, an Americorps program brought to Wayne County through a $2.35 million grant obtained by East Carolina University.

Operation Link paired more than 20 volunteer mentors with students at Tommy's Road Elementary, Greenwood Middle School and Wayne School of Engineering at the beginning of the school year.

The students were on spring break last week, so most of the care package assembly fell to the volunteers and youth council members.

The students will be asked to add personal thank you notes to the troops, which will then be inserted into the packages before they are shipped, Ms. Rose said.

The community is also invited to participate by contributing supplies to fill the packages. A drop box located in the Community Affairs office at historic city hall will be open weekdays from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m.

"We are asking for everything from gallon freezer bags to wet wipes, Chap Stick, hard candy and batteries," Ms. Rose said.

Snack items can also be donated to support the after school program Operation Link conducts for students at Tommy's Road and Greenwood Middle.

The mentors are assisting the students in a robotics program that will continue once school lets out for summer vacation.

"Our summer camp will run through the last two weeks in June," Ms. Rose said.

The volunteers and students will then complete the design and construction of their robots.